Is The Boss Laughing? Why Corporate Shows Are Easy

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There’s hardly a gig I haven’t done: nude cruises, kids’ birthday parties, comedy clubs,  The Tonight Show, colleges, parades, corporate events – you name it, I’ve done it. Of all of them, corporate shows are unique in at least one respect: the audience is keenly attuned to the boss’s reaction.

It’s not like performing for North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, of course, but corporate audiences do tend to be inordinately cautious about not laughing until they’re sure the CEO is.

Which makes performing for corporate audiences a nightmare, right?

Wrong. Why not? The reason is simple: the CEO isn’t worried about what her boss thinks – she is the boss. While employees, desirous of keeping their jobs, are taking cues from her, she’s simply enjoying the show.

This is one of the reasons corporate shows tend to be far easier than, say, college shows, where the boss (i.e. professors and faculty) are processing the show through their politically-correct (i.e. leftist) ideological lens rather than simply having a good time.

Return to daviDDeeble.com or watch me perform the Flaming Marshmallow Balance on the Late Late Show.

There’s One In Every Crowd – So Why Fret?

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When it comes to distractions while performing, entertainers tend to feel the pea beneath the mattress. I wish I had a nickel for each time I directed my attention the one person in the audience who doesn’t seem to “get” it. One of the most-challenging aspects of live performance is learning not to focus on the disinterested man, the disengaged woman and distracting 3-year old heckler.

Every speaker and entertainer need to decide who in the audience they want to win over. One has a choice: to direct your attention to the gal in the front row who’s clearly not “rolling with it” or to the vast majority of the audience who is.

When you “have the floor”, it’s natural to be hypersensitive to the least little distraction. One example from memory: I was performing in a cavernous theater before a large audience when a woman in the front row began crinkling the plastic wrapper of the lozenge she had just placed in her mouth. It was barely audible to me, let alone the rest of the audience. I decided, however, that it was important to make her (and therefore the rest of the audience) aware of it and that would she kindly refrain from it?

The audience’s reaction: What the hell is this guy referring to? The fact is, no one in the audience was paying any attention to it because they were paying attention to me. I had earned their attention by being interesting – and I threw it away when I drew their attention to the busy fingers of the woman in the front row.

There will always be distractions from time to time – a glass will shatter on the floor, for example – which would be awkward to let pass without any comment. But unless you’re absolutely certain that something which occurs “outside the lines” requires commentary from you, nine times out of ten you won’t regret ignoring it.

Return to www.daviDDeeble.com or watch me juggle (now-banned) plastic grocery bags on The Tonight Show.

Four Ways To Botch An Entertainer’s Introduction

The best introduction I ever received was at the Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, California. The comedian who gave it was a big fan of my work and his enthusiasm was hilariously over-the-top yet unmistakably authentic: “Your next performer is unbelievable! How can I describe what he does? There’s no word for it! You just have to see it! You’ve never seen anything like it! I just have to bring him out so you can see for yourself! Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to David Deeble!”

He had the audience laughing during the introduction in such a way that suggested they were thinking one thing: I have to see who he’s talking about.

While no entertainer should expect to be introduced each time with such unbridled enthusiasm, this anecdote does provide some clues ensure that you don’t inadvertently place the evening’s entertainment behind the 8 ball before it’s even begun.

Below are a two of the best ways for emcees, event planners and entertainers to make an entertainer’s introduction an energy-depleting momentum-killer.

ENTERTAINERS:

MAKE YOUR INTRODUCTION AS COMPLICATED AS POSSIBLE

Simple, straightforward introductions are for celebrities whose accomplishments are well-known, not for you! I like to think of my introduction as indistinguishable from my resumé: “Tell them I’ve performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing and America’s Got Talent – in that order. Then say I appear regularly at the Magic Castle in Hollywood – don’t forget the in Hollywood part – and that I’ve opened up for Ray Romano and Kevin James. Then tell them I specialize in performing at private functions and corporate events. Then tell them my website – www.daviddeeble.com – that’s two d’s, understand? – and conclude with ‘Please welcome the comedy of David Deeble!’ But with feeling, okay?”

INTRODUCERS, EMCEES AND EVENT PLANNERS:

YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO BE SUBMITTED A STRAIGHTFORWARD, EASY-TO-UTTER INTRODUCTION

This is a corollary of the above. Sure, memorizing a lengthy, in-depth bio and relating it to the audience with unmistakeable zeal is difficult, but don’t forget your place. After all, you’re dealing with an entertainer and showing deference should be your highest priority. Whatever you do, suppress the courage and commonsense to say “I want to give you the best introduction possible. I suggest we shorten this introduction and make up for the missing credits by bringing you onstage with lots of energy and enthusiasm”.

BEGIN THE INTRODUCTION BY DIVULGING THE NAME OF THE ENTERTAINER

By all means, take the wind out of the show’s sails! Performers tend to rise to the occasion when their name is followed by applause, so why not begin by stating the name of the entertainer followed seamlessly by the rest of the introduction? Better yet, conclude the introduction by omitting the performer’s name and let the introduction just kind of trail off. Here’s how you would put me behind the 8 ball: “David Deeble is a comedy juggler. Let’s give him nice welcome.

CONTAIN YOUR ENTHUSIASM, IF ANY

If you are a personal fan the work of the entertainer you are introducing, why on earth would you want to let the audience in on it? All it does is give the entertainer one of the best imprimaturs there is: a testimonial. Your introduction should say, in effect: “I don’t know who this gal is and the fact that I’m introducing her does not imply an endorsement on my part. I have been tasked with introducing her to you and that is all. Anyway, here she is.”

An introduction can set the stage for a fantastic evening of entertainment or leave the audience wondering if now would be a good time to sneak in a smoke. If you have any thoughts on what makes or breaks an entertainer’s introduction, leave your comments below.